~ UPDATED: Harvest Church and Other Organizations Launch Maui Wildfire Relief Funds as Death Toll Continues to Climb Amidst Questions & Allegations ~
Maui Wildfire Relief Funds Launched
On August 8 a wildfire broke out on West Maui where Harvest Kumulani is located. What started off as a small brushfire quickly escalated with 50 MPH wind gusts, carrying the flames down the hills into homes and businesses. The images are devastating as much of Lahaina burned down. There is no word yet on how many casualties, but county officials are estimating over $1 billion in damages. The majority of the the Harvest Church congregation on Maui works and lives in and around Lahaina, meaning that many at Harvest Kumulani lost their homes, their jobs, or both in one night.
Because of the rapid spread of the blaze, officials and residents were caught off guard, with allegations water was turned off and roads were closed. At least 11,000 residents and tourists were forced to evacuate the island at a moment’s notice. At least 115 people were killed and more than 2,200 structures destroyed. Unlike tourists, the residents of Maui who fled are now displaced, with no homes to return to.
Survivors of the Maui fire claim that the only paved road out was barricaded by authorities as flames overcame the town, according to a report from the Associated Press. Others claim water was not available to fight the fires.
The historic resort town of Lahaina suffered the worst destruction. Lahaina, formerly the Hawaiian Kingdom’s capital, draws 2 million tourists a year. After the fire swept through, however, the town has been reduced to rubble. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates it will take years and cost $5.5 billion to rebuild the town.
According to reports, M. Kaleo Manuel, a Hawaii official who allegedly delayed releasing water for over five hours that would have helped landowners fight the fires, previously called for “equity” water resource management during a virtual college panel in 2022.
Hawaii’s fires are not only the deadliest U.S. wildfire since the Minnesota Cloquet Fire in 1918, but it is also the most lethal disaster to affect the islands since the tsunami that claimed 61 lives in 1960.
“Even as you read this, the death toll on Maui is rising as workers continue to find victims of the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century,” says the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “The island is reeling, and these wildfires have decimated the city of Lahaina and other areas, leaving many homeless and hopeless.”
Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Harvest church will be there to bring hope and the gospel to the hurting people of the island of Maui at this critical time.
The Harvest Maui Wildfire Relief Fund has been set up to provide tangible support for our church’s local relief efforts. You can help share the love of Christ to this community by giving to this fund: Give Today
More Maui Disaster Relief Resources:
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team: Chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team have deployed to Maui to provide emotional and spiritual care to those who have lost everything. Give Now
Convoy of Hope’s Crisis Relief Fund: visit convoy.org/radio for more ways to help the Maui wildfire disaster relief effort.
Samaritan’s Purse— is also on the ground now helping those in need.
Hawaii Wildfires ─ Red Cross: Red Cross helping as Hawaii Wildfires search and rescue efforts continue
MAP International Disaster Relief: Map International, a global health nonprofit organization based in Georgia, is mobilizing prepositioned disaster relief supplies to support humanitarian aid efforts in Hawaii. MAP’s signature DHKs are packed with basic health care and hygiene items to help prevent the spread of disease following a natural disaster. These kits contain items like soap, antiseptic wipes, first aid kits, and over-the-counter medicines, and are designed to support one person living in a shelter for an entire week. If you would like to donate to MAP’s Disaster Relief Fund and help rush care to those who have been displaced by the Maui blaze, visit map.org.
Originally published Aug. 9, 2023.
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